This question is one that we’ve proposed for some time ever since the news came out that Al Horford will likely not be signing an extension with Boston. Kyrie might be gone. Terry might be gone. And now Al Horford sounds like he might be out. That leaves their draft picks open to the opportunity of stepping up. Carsen Edwards is the one we want to speak about today because there is a real scenario where he has to step up as the starting point guard.
Kyrie Irving seems like he’s on the way out and while there is promise that Terry Rozier resigns if that’s a reality, there’s also the possibility that he doesn’t. Rozier has been linked with the Suns for a while and if by some chance they both leave along with Horford, what is left of this team?
Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, and Gordon Hayward make up the core still under contract on the squad. Smart is the one that could realistically run point and very well may be given that opportunity. We know he has no problems at all on the defensive end, it’s just the distributing aspect that he would need to improve on…or is it?
Time and time again, we’ve seen Marcus Smart make some pretty passes and good decisions with the ball on offense.
Smart averaged 4 assists last year while turning the ball over just 1 and a half times per game. He’s greatly improved in dropping that turnover number down which was at a career high 2.4 mark the previous year. In transition is where Marcus Smart flourishes with distributing and that’ll continue to be the case.
So, it seems that even if Rozier and Kyrie are on gone, Marcus Smart could fill into that role. And we should mention, as we are sure you’ve heard already, Kemba Walker seems like he could be going to Boston.
Again, all of this might change in just a few days, but lets just assume for a second that Kemba doesn’t come, as expected Terry and Kyrie leave, and Brad Stevens doesn’t see Smart as the primary lead guard. In that scenario (and yes, it’s a pretty wild one at this stage) Carsen Edwards would need to step in, we’d assume.
One thing that Carsen showed us time and time again at Purdue, is that he is not afraid of the bright lights. He doesn’t cower in fear when the big opportunity arrises, that’s when he shines. In this past NCAA Tournament, Carsen Edwards (along with Ryan Cline to be fair) carried the team into an Elite Eight birth where they were only stopped by the champions, Virginia.
It seemed like very time he was called upon, Carsen came through for the team.
Edwards has all the tools to be successful in the NBA. The question we are posing today is whether he can be a starting point guard though. Offensively off the dribble, there is no doubt that he can. He’s been able to get by opposing guards using his speed, strength, and elusiveness and that should translate well.
Shooting over taller defenders won’t be a problem for him either as he’s been doing that his whole career. During the tournament, Virginia started putting DeAndre Hunter (who is notoriously known as one of the top defenders in this draft class) on him and Carsen just gave him the work.
We think it’s fair to say that Carsen won’t have much trouble scoring the ball. Defensively, Carsen will fight over screens harder than almost anyone. Fellow draft pick and current Celtics teammate Grant Williams had very high praise for Carsen defensively saying that he believes he could end up switching onto power forwards in the league:
Grant Williams thinks 6-foot guard Carsen Edwards can even switch on to NBA power forwards because of how strong he is. We’ll see.
— Jay King (@ByJayKing) June 24, 2019
Carsen will have his lapses at times on that end, but there might not be any better complement than Marcus Smart by your side on defense. But, what about distributing, how will he do in that department given that the Celtics have a lot of talent and need someone to feed them the ball?
And this is where we sort of hit a wall. Edwards isn’t much of a distributor and never averaged over 3 assists a game in any of his three years at Purdue. Sure, that wasn’t what he was asked to do, but that is what will be asked of him in Boston if they were to look at him as a starter. In the distributing aspect, Marcus Smart has a giant lead over Carsen.
Marcus Smart will probably get the start in the beginning of the season because he is the most ready. Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, and Gordon Hayward will start alongside him most likely with the center position being vacant at this point. If any of Brown, Tatum, or Hayward get dealt, that could realistically allow for Smart to move to the 2 and Edwards to the point guard position.
The reality of the situation is that the Celtics are still in win now mode. If they don’t end up getting a top free agent, then maybe that moves their timeline back a bit making room for Carsen Edwards, but we just don’t think that is Danny Ainge’s vision.
So, will Carsen Edwards start for the Boston Celtics next year?
No, probably not.
BUT, can he?
In time, he will be able to. People have doubted him before, don’t be the one to do it now.